BENEFITING: Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary
ORGANIZER: Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary
EVENT: 2016 Boston Marathon
EVENT DATE: Apr 18, 2016
“Believe me, the reward is not so great without the struggle.” – Wilma Rudolph
Trying to run Boston, one more time!
2016 is an extra special year for my Mass Eye and Ear fundraising efforts because this year my dad had his right eye removed, officially marking the "end" of his battle with cancer. The surgery went smoothly and his new eye looks great, but we never would have expected any less from Dr. Gragoudas and his team. My dad, and my entire family, feels better than ever, which would not be possible without Mass Eye and Ear.
For those of you who do not know the entire story of my family's connection to MEEI, here it is.
My dad was diagnosed with a malignant melanoma in his right eye in 1998 after waking up one morning unable to see. My entire family was absolutely shocked. How could cancer be affecting such an incredible guy?
After frantic calls to family, friends, and doctors, my dad was ultimately lead to Dr. Gragoudas and his team at Mass Eye and Ear. After an examination, Dr. Gragoudas told my dad the melanoma tumor was so large it had totally detached his retina, causing blindness. We knew Dr. Gragoudas is the best in the field, so we trusted him when he said that his experimental treatment would allow my dad to keep his eye, something most treatments at the time did not offer.
In the following two years, my dad underwent an extensive surgery to add tantalum rings to the tumor in his eye, interferon A injections at home in New York, and radiation at Mass Eye and Ear. During each and every visit to Mass Eye and Ear, my dad received exceptional care from the entire staff, from the doctors performing the operations to the nurses who were so caring and supportive. The staff at Mass Eye and Ear has always been courteous and devoted to his well being. I know that my dad is incredibly thankful for the entire staff at Mass Eye and Ear who helped him not only successfully get through such a difficult time, but get through it stronger than ever!
Throughout his surgery, rounds of chemo and radiation, my dad took a total of 2 days off from work and zero days off from being an awe-inspiring father to my sister and me. I don't remember one missed lacrosse game, swim meet, basketball game, or horse show.
After two long years of travel back and forth to Boston for treatment, Dr. Gragoudas finally told my dad the words everyone had been waiting for: the cancer cells had died. Despite the celebrations, my dad still goes in for annual checkups at Mass Eye and Ear to make sure the tumor in his eye has not grown and the cancer has not reoccurred anywhere else. During these visits, the staff continues to deliver the same great care as they did during his treatment.
I am running the 2016 Marathon for the second time as a proud member of Team Mass Eye and Ear to say thank you for the care my dad has received at Mass Eye and Ear. I decided that if my dad can fight cancer while working and parenting two (admittedly) tiring kids, I can finish 26.2 miles. I have committed to raising $16,000 for Team Eye and Ear and to finish 26.2 miles for the cause. I am doing all of this in honor of the strongest guy I know, my dad, for Dr. Gragoudas, and for the entire team at Mass Eye and Ear who have kept him strong and healthy for the past 18 years. I am confident that they will keep up their good work for many, many more years to come.
Please help me as I raise funds for Team Mass Eye and Ear and support them in their continued fight against ophthalmic cancers.
On behalf of my entire family, Team Mass Eye and Ear, and myself: thank you.
Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary wrote -
Massachusetts Eye and Ear clinicians and scientists are driven by a mission to find cures for blindness, deafness and diseases of the head and neck.
Each year almost 300,000 people - adults and children - from more than 80 countries seek care at Mass. Eye and Ear and more than 20,000 of them undergo life-changing surgery.
Mass. Eye and Ear is home to the world's largest vision and hearing research centers, offering hope and healing to patients everywhere through discovery and innovation. As a Harvard Medical School teaching hospital, Mass. Eye and Ear trains future medical leaders in ophthalmology and otolaryngology through our highly competitive residency and fellowship programs.
Mass. Eye and Ear is ranked #1 in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.